Posted on 11/26/2010 at 2:36am

The evening mist and gentle rain is settling in the Hollows of West Virginia. I sit by the warmth of a crackling fire as I look carefully at the painting I had almost completed before the days changes came. The vibrant color of yellows, golds and reds of the fallen leaves, blues and violets with touches of red and green in the hillsides, and the blue gray with white clouds filling the sky, are now so muted they can barely be called the colors they were a few hours ago when I painted them. Now just a hint remains to be seen of what there once was. Many hours ago as I collected my supplies and began to follow a leaf strewn dirt path on the edge of a slow moving river, I found a secret that may not be told much anymore. It is a forgotten story about what is left of this old road. I begin to notice lumps of coal strewn along its banks, no doubt having fallen from horse drawn wagons long ago. I set up and painted for an hour before the gentle rain began. I wanted to keep working a few more minutes but the rain is not stopping. I have a long way to walk back to my car, so I pack up my gear and also pick up a piece of the pitch black coal to bring back with me. I am in Monongah, the site of the largest mining disaster in the United States in 1907. The fire that started happened so fast, over 300 died in that mine. Only 4 men got out and they too quickly died of their injuries. The town is a shadow of what it once was during its mining days. Shuttered buildings still speak to the sadness that can still be felt. As I am heading out of the town I pass a statue to the heroines of that disaster, a woman in a long dress clutching a baby, and another child with its arms wrapped around her for safety because their husbands and fathers, will not be coming home. My painting, so quickly done during the changes of this day, is another grasp at time. Have I captured the feeling of November in the Hollows and could there possibly be echoes of forgotten voices filling my canvas?



  1. Rosalind Roche says:

    I wish I had been there to experience this dreamy day of painting with you, expressed in your words and the beautiful autumn canvas. Ros.

  2. Bryan says:

    Nice! I think I have been out that road!? See you soon!

  3. LINDA HUDSON says:

    You write as beautifully as you paint. Your picture is wonderful.

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